City of Franklin revitalization project moves forward; road closures could impact local businesses

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- The city of Franklin is one step closer to completion of its $12 million, nine-phase revitalization project.

As of Monday, crews were back out there on the roads, working on phases five and six concurrently.

Along with construction, road closures and detours are inevitable. So what type of impact will this shift in phases have on local businesses? A few local merchants told RTV6, hopefully, not a huge one.

The project is a big one, including a total reconstruction of road pavement, curbs, sidewalks, and all the underground structures such as sewers and storm sewers.

“One of the large goals of the project is to replace the old structure that has deteriorated, and to help increase traffic flow to the downtown area for merchants,” said Brad Stahley, who is the resident project representative for Crossroad Engineers, the company behind the construction.

So, for those of you who frequent Franklin, here’s what you can expect from phases five and six: Phase five includes the closure of King Street from Middleton Road to Eastview Drive, as well as the construction of a roundabout at King Street and Eastview Drive.

Stahley said the reason for the roundabout is not only for safety, but also to let trucks know where the truck route starts to keep them from having to pass through downtown.

Phase six includes the closure of Jefferson Street, right in the heart of downtown (and retail), from the railroad crossing to the east side of Branigan Road.

Though a portion of Jefferson is closed, the shop owners want to let you know that businesses are still open!

“We’re definitely open. We’re here normal business hours. Same menu,” said Greg Schall, the owner of Gigi’s Sugar Shack on Jefferson Street.

Schall says the last time there was a closure because of this project, his business was impacted and he lost customers.

“I’m guessing roughly 25 percent,” said Schall of his estimate of how much business they lost.

This time around, he said that business has been up to speed and he hopes it stays that way.

Schall says you can park behind the café and walk around to the front for access.

And he said, though this closure is annoying, he’s excited for the end result.

“Definitely going to be really nice when everything is done,” said Schall.

Julie Stewart of Salvage Sisters Antique Market isn’t losing sleep over the closure of Jefferson Street.

“We’ve been here eight-and-a half years, and I think if they want to shop, they’re going to find a way to get here,” said Stewart.

Her shop is open normal hours, you’ll just have to park in the back and walk around to the front.

“I’m glad it’s happening now, verses in the winter, when people will not walk,” laughed Stewart.

Stewart, like Schall, is excited for what’s to come.

“It’s going to draw a lot of people to Franklin. We’re a destination to people,” said Stewart.

It is important to note that the other shops along Jefferson Street are still open, not only Gigi’s and Salvage Sisters.

There will be a block party on April 21 with live music, food trucks, and of course the goods of all of the businesses on the street... all to let people know they are open, despite the street’s closure.

Phases five and six of the project are expected to wrap up on July 31.

Phase seven is expected to begin in August, and the entire project is expected to be complete in 2019.

 

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